Written by Megan Juba
Beck came over Monarch pass for the first time and was dropped off on the crossroads of ‘F’ and First in Salida on a bright and dusty day, June 2015. “I followed familiar smells to the distillery to apply and got hired that same day.” This would be the epicenter to many fresh beginnings resulting in recovery from addiction, transitioning genders, finding meaningful work, love and family in a community called home. Beck admits, “I lucked out because [Salida] was so small. Being someone who barely graduated the 8th grade, like, that’s my style. I’m going to grasp onto the little things that I can and see how much I can collect.”
Beck explains how addiction has been so prevalent to his life–doing “natural things” like marijuana and mushrooms to handle ADHD and depression symptoms at 13, getting addicted to narcotics and opiates at 14, witnessing his stepmom dead from an overdose on the living room floor at 17 and drinking until obliterated in his early 20’s (even if alcohol wasn’t the drug of choice, it was sure handy being a skilled Distiller). It’s not all a sob story with a sad ending, because Beck has recovered cold-turkey–several times, from different substances–and is sober today. With a sly smile and a sip of dark coffee he says, “I’d say I’m abstinent, but I partake in sugar and caffeine. That’s how I party.”
These real-life experiences and the natural tendency to care deeply for others has positively propelled Beck to this exact present sweet spot. Beck blushes when he talks about his partner, Gabby. With their whole world snuggled together the morning of Valentine's 2019 Beck felt “that was the aha moment; that was the green light to sober up.” While “every couple has their ups and downs” he beams with pride to be a new parent to Gabby’s little one and... to be a family!
Beck is currently a Behavioral Health Worker at the Walk-In Crisis Center in Salida. With his personal history with addiction (and therefore crisis), Beck questions how it’s all taken with stride. As if specifically made for this kind of work, he wonders, “Am I desensitized or more sensitized.” Beck also helps run his partner’s business Rosy’s Donuts, his own pop-up sober bar ironically called Rock Bottom and is a non-formal counselor for anyone needing an open ear and big heart. “I’m grateful. I think this town is super inclusive and progressive for its small size. There’s always room to grow.” Beck is like a tumbleweed that rolled into town, took root and grew beautifully.